American, boston, Burgers, Cape Cod, Italian, Seafood

Laurino’s- Brewster, MA

Home. A lot of people think of their family when they think of home. The atmosphere, the people, the food. The same goes for restaurants. Yes, you remember the food if you’ve been to a great place, but many of us also remember the experience we had. Were the waiters/waitresses nice? Did the hostess greet you cheerfully? Were you told a wait time that fit the means of a normal time frame? Those are things that can make or break a restaurant just as much as the food being good or not. Laurino’s checks off everything and does it with love. 

Just off Route 6A sits Laurino’s, a humble and welcoming establishment on Cape Cod. We came here as a second choice actually, after our first choice treated us less than spectacular. We learned our lesson and know to make Laurino’s our first choice. From being greeted with a smile, to delicious food, to seeing hardworking people work together, you feel better knowing your money is going towards a restaurant like that than one with snotty hosts. 

The vibe at Laurino’s is that of home, with fun posters and pictures all around and a community feeling. They welcome all, seeing that we’ve taken my autistic sister here and seeing an autistic boy the night we went. Our waitress was bubbly and happy, exuding vibrant colors that made us feel cheerful and happy to be there. She made our experience amazing and we noticed all the waitstaff helping each other, from running plates to cleaning and turning over tables. True teamwork.

The food, on top of everything else, was superb. The SOB Burger was juicy and delicious, all the ingredients cooked perfectly. The specials that evening made it difficult to decide what to get, but one special that night screamed incredible. Scallops with tortellini in a red pesto sauce was just too good not to get. The tortellini had to have been homemade, with ample filling and tasty pasta. The scallops cooked to perfection, complimenting the tortellini in a delicious sauce that popped with flavor and spice (and everything nice).

From now on Laurino’s is the place, where everyone is welcome to enjoy drinks, food, and company. Ultimately that’s what matters when you go out to eat, not necessarily where everyone else goes, but the place that leaves you feeling bright and your tummy full. 

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American, Beef, Burgers, Uncategorized

Mighty Fine Burgers- Austin, TX 

I’ve done quite a lot of posts on burgers on here, and rightfully so, because a really good burger is food for the soul. Most of my burger posts are more “complex” or “fancier” with add ons and specials. Well this post is about a good, solid, greasy, basic burger. And what a Mighty Fine Burger it is.

It’s your classic burger place, picnic like tables inside with white and red checkered tablecloths. The location we actually went to was in Round Rock, just outside of Austin. However, this burger joint got its start in Austin and they are proud of it. The Round Rock location has a really lovely outdoor space with a little play area for the kiddos, which is appealing for all the shoppers in close proximity. 

The staff was just lovely, asking how our day was and exuding a joyfulness that leads you to believe they enjoy their job. 

Another notable and unique part of Mighty Fine is the hand washing system. Technically you’re supposed to wash your arms up to your elbows and so at Mighty Fine they have a “spa for your hands”, a machine that when you put your arms into it are sprayed with soap and water and bristles brush around your arms and hands. They even include stickers so you can let everyone know of your clean arms.

Now the food! This burger really is classic, no fancy stuff just good fresh ingredients and delicious beef. A warm soft bun to encompass the deliciousness and you’re golden. Speaking of golden, the fries! Nice and crispy with a soft center and fun crinkle to it. I suggest adding their seasoned salt for some extra flavoring.

It’s voted the best burger in Austin and I have to say this was one good burger. A classic, an American staple, and they’re Mighty Fine.

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American, Beef, Burgers, Uncategorized

Twisted Root Burger Co- Waco, TX

If you’re a fan of Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives” then you may have seen this Dallas based burger joint on tv. That’s right, this burger place is so good America got to see a chef chow down on one of their burgers, and so did I. This is Twisted Root Burger Co

Originating in Dallas, chefs Jason and Quincy expanded to build nine other stores in just over seven years. There’s no question they know their stuff and know good food. The store in Waco has a cool vibe to it, very high ceilings where they could easily build a second story for more seating. With projections of music videos, a big bar in the center of the restaurant you can tell this Waco store is a hotspot for the college town. With so many burger options, many being similar to each other with small changes, a solid Texan burger was just calling to me, so Big Tex it was. Cheddar cheese, guacamole, fried onion strips and chipotle sauce makes for one pretty amazing burger. Another really cool thing about Twisted Root, which reminded me of Tim Love’s “Woodshed”, is they offer different game, from buffalo to elk to duck. Now don’t get your hopes up, I didn’t try any of them, but having those options makes for a wide demographic of people who do enjoy game. 

Back to the burger: The beef was cooked nicely, spices enveloping your taste buds. The cheese and guacamole worked together harmoniously, the onion strings a nice addition. The fries were delicious, they weren’t particularly crispy if you’re a crispy fry kind of guy or gal, but they were seasoned nicely and tasted delicious. Also at Twisted Root they have a pickle bar, different variations of pickles from classic dill to ranch. They are free, amazing, and free. How could you pass that up? I highly recommended getting a shake as well, especially the peanut butter brownie. Wow. From creamy ice cream to brownie chunks it was mouthwatering. Do it, just do it and get that shake. 

Twisted Root is a really great place to catch up with friends, grab an amazing bite to eat, and enjoy the Waco evening. It’s super easy to get to, right off I-35, and certainly would make for a special lunch on the way to Austin. Pull over and grab a great burger and shake from Twisted Root Burger Co. 

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American, Burgers, Fort Worth, Uncategorized

Brewed- Fort Worth, TX

Brewed has quickly become one of the best restaurants in Fort Worth, best known for their brunch. I’ve had brunch plenty of times (see previous Brewed post), but they recently introduced a new dinner menu. Intrigued, a friend and I decided to try it out, featuring dishes with a twist and popular classics. 

Knowing how crazy Brewed can be, I called thirty minutes ahead to get my name on the list. Although it was a Tuesday night, at night Brewed is a gastropub featuring Texas on Tap, local Texan beers, so who would have guessed it would end up being a serene evening! We walked in and it was a glorious sight, calm and peaceful. It was refreshing to see the popular restaurant without a line out the door. 


I’ve always loved the atmosphere of Brewed. Hipster and chic, the decor is something of a British flat almost. Fun posters with local information and comfy sofas and chairs make an ambiance of tranquility. 


With their notable Texas on Tap, I ordered the Austin Eastciders Pineapple Cider from Austin, TX. When it came it certainly had a bright color to it and I was expecting a pineapple taste, but it didn’t come! It was a refreshing cider that had a hint of pineapple, but nothing strong. From the photo it looks quite fizzy too, but it wasn’t. It was cool and refreshing and tasted of fall. 


Now on to the food! We started with The Play on Wings, fried cauliflower bites served with housemade buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, celery and carrot sticks. The buffalo sauce certainly tasted homemade and it had quite a kick to it! With the dressing it was a great combination with the cauliflower bites. The dressing must have had a ranch base, it didn’t have an overly strong blue cheese taste which was great, it was very delicious. The cauliflower was amazing, I think the best thing I’ve had at Brewed, period. They were fried almost like a Chinese wonton or Korean fried. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, soft but not chewy. They were a great texture and the fry was spot on. I could have the appetizer as my meal and be completely satisfied. 

As my entree I chose the fan favorite Brewed burger. Everyone always seems to talk about their burgers whenever I ask someone who has been for dinner, so it was time to weigh in. Wow, it’s certainly an amazing burger. With Veldhuizen Farm cheddar, house pickles, and mustard cream on a sweet challah bun, it’s hard not to go wrong. The burger was cooked perfectly, the pickles were extraordinary and tasted homemade, and the mustard cream was delectable. My only complaint would be that the bun was a little too burnt for my taste. I really like the idea of a bit of a charred bun, but it was just a tad too much. A smidgen less time and it would’ve been fantastic, giving extra flavor to each bite. 

Served with the burger is your choice of the duck fat fries or sweet potato fries. I love judging different restaurants sweet potato fries, I find they are always different when it comes to seasonings and the way they are cooked. These sweet potato fries were awesome. They were soft, which I love a good crispy fry, but the softness was suitable and still scrumptious. I don’t know what they did to the salt topped on them, but it didn’t seem to taste like regular salt, it was so much better. Perhaps it’s smoked salt, or seasoned a second way to bring an extra flavoring to them, I honestly couldn’t put my finger on it, but they were delicious and make my list of favorite sweet potato fries. 

Unfortunately I cannot comment on dessert (with Melt down the street it was hard to resist their comeback flavor Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater) , but I know from word of mouth the Ricotta Fritters are a big fan favorite! 

Overall, the dinner experience at Brewed was lovely, which was a pleasant surprise. Not because the service is bad or the food isn’t good, but because it’s usually flooded with people anxious to enjoy the atmosphere and amazing food. The updated menu is fantastic, full of delicious choices for everyone. If you need a pick me up after a long Tuesday, Brewed would make a great place to meet up with friends or catch up on work. The coffee is still delicious and the staff is always friendly. Brewed will always be on my list of go to restaurants in Fort Worth, be sure to add it to your list, too!

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American, Burgers

Mash’d- Fort Worth, TX

I’ve already talked up the West 7th area of Fort Worth (see Rodeo Goat post), but it really honestly is the coolest area of Fort Worth besides downtown. It’s a food and drink mecca that attracts several twenty-somethings to eat, drink, and be merry. This go around at West 7th, we tried Mash’d.

Mash’d is very new to Fort Worth, only opening just this past summer. It already has attracted quite the crowd in only a matter of months. The location is great, it’s in the heart of West 7th with its door open to common folk just waiting to get some good old moonshine. The vibe is very interesting, it’s almost like retro hip meets country. The decor is all wood and the decorations are both country infused and hipster like. One my favorites was the quote on the main wall, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” Thank you, Frank Sinatra. 

The menu has so many options for everyone, including a gluten free menu. Their salads look amazing, but their country, home style cooking menu filled with fried chicken and burgers is their thing. The menu has a lot of interesting components though, I don’t think you think goat cheese when going into a moonshine place. Sadly, I cannot comment on the moonshine quite yet, but according to my fellow colleagues it’s quite strong, but good. 

What’s awesome about this place is they had a screen of YouTube videos playing on the giant tv screen. Such a great way to distract people while waiting for food! I know I wasn’t constantly thinking about how hungry I was thanks to the funny cat videos.

I ordered the chicken sandwich and how could you not get fries with that! On the sandwich was their house slaw, pickle, and lemon aioli on a split top bun. What a site it was upon its placement in front of me. Right away you could tell this bun was going to be delicious. The chicken sat in between, and off the side, in a glorious way. The fries sat in a mini frying basket just calling your name. It was quite the sight, on an old newspaper for extra decoration. 

Let’s start with the fries: they were seasoned perfectly. They had a Parmesan taste to them leading me to believe they are a take on Parmesan truffle fries. The garnish wasn’t overpowering, just the right amount. I enjoyed the shoestring like shape and crispness of the fries, but they were almost difficult to eat because they were cut short! If they were closer to a ‘normal’ fries size I think it would make it easier to stuff them in your face. 

The chicken was cooked very well. It was tender and juicy and the fry wasn’t thick. It was definitely crispy and definitely something I would order a second time at Mash’d. The lemon aioli was a nice acid to balance out the flavor, but the lemon wasn’t crazy strong either, the chef did an excellent job not letting the lemon take over. The house slaw was also very good, they added a nice extra crunch in every bite. 

  
Overall, I think Mash’d is going to become our new favorite place to go to. From the eclectic atmosphere, amazing host (who had to handle a large group of us), and fantastic food, Mash’d should be on everyone’s list of places to go to in Fort Worth. 

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Burgers, Cape Cod, Seafood

Orleans Public House- Orleans, MA

Vacations are a time to relax, be with the ones you love, and enjoy your favorite places to eat. When it comes to food, we tend to go to the same places because they are our favorites, they make great food, tradition, etc. It can be hard sometimes when you go on your yearly vacation to try a different place. It’s like “why would I go here when I need to get this dish at this restaurant?” Well, for you Cape Codders I have the restaurant that you need to make an exception for. 

I too fall victim to the ‘tradition restaurants’, but now that going to the Cape is a more frequent thing I can afford to save the favorites for actual vacations and try new places on the short trips! So this trip we decided to try Orleans Public House

Located on Cove Road, a bit off the beaten path, sits the little restaurant OPH. At first glance you can tell it’s a nice place, not necessarily made for the six crazy kids kind of place, but perfect for a casual yet fancy dinner. The main parking lot is pretty tiny, but there is additional parking across the street.

Upon walking in you immediately feel the warmth of the restaurant. Don’t worry there is air conditioning, but it has a sophisticated, welcoming feel to it. The dining area is pretty small, but there is a bar and outdoor patio, when available. The waitstaff were just darling, girls from Eastern Europe who come to America to work over the summer and pay their way through university. Props to them and their work ethic, the tips go a long way and I know makes me feel good knowing what the money is going towards. 

Onto the food: the restaurant had just changed their menu to the seasonal fall menu. I’m sure a good amount of the menu items are year round though. We started with the Shrimp and Grits. Living in Texas now, I said to my parents “I come all the way to Cape Cod to have grits” but these grits were something else. They were crispy and divided into three triangle patties. They were cooked beautifully and tasted amazing. The shrimp was also cooked beautifully. I’m not the biggest shrimp fan, but I could have ordered this as my meal and be happy as a clam. In the dish was also ham and fried brussel sprout leaves. Now ham is ham, hard to go wrong, but brussel sprouts can either be really good or not, depending on how you cook them. When you fry them, how could you! Again, not a brussel sprouts fan, but I could have eaten a plate of them. The sauce they came in was extraordinary too, be sure to save some bread to eat it all up (since licking the bowl is socially impolite). The chef really wowed us with this dish, and it was only the appetizer!

  
As a family we decided to order separate dishes, but we almost always share them around. We settled on the house made gnocchi, Public House burger, and cod cake sliders. 

Gnocchi can be a hit or miss, not every chef is capable of cooking them properly. However, this gnocchi was cooked to perfection. I’m going to use that word a lot in this post, but this meal truly was perfect. It came in a fall vegetable ragout with pan roasted mushrooms, parmesan, and truffle essence. Now I would say, if you’re not a truffle fan (truffle=mushroom), then I wouldn’t recommend this dish. Between the amount of mushrooms and the extra essence it was very ‘truffly’. If you are a fan, though, I highly recommend this fall menu item.  

I’ve had my share of burgers, as you can see from my past posts, so when this burger came out I was truly amazed.  I ask that you all, before, continuing to read, quickly refer to my Cape Cod Food Trail post and read about the Rock Harbor Burger. Have you read it? Proceed:

The Public House burger was better. From the first moment it was placed in front of me to the last bite, this burger was better. The meat was cooked superbly, each ingredient complimented each other, you got everything in one bite and it worked harmoniously. The house pickles were definitely house made, they were actually sweeter pickles than I expected, but they weren’t overly sweet. The bacon bourbon aioli and smoked jalapeño ketchup really gave the burger a nice smoky flavor, so much so you would have thought they had a smoker in the back. The bun was also very complimentary, it wasn’t dense and didn’t make the burger feel like this huge monster as you ate it, it just condensed and fluffed up as you enjoyed it. With the burger we got the parmesan truffle fries and they were fried exactly the way you want them. Not as good as the Sesuit Harbor fries (see previous post) but very close. The truffle wasn’t overpowering either, which can be another thing chefs tend to overuse, but this chef really knows his stuff and knows when to stop adding.  

   

The third entree we ordered was the Cod Cake Sliders. How can you not eat cod on Cape Cod? The sliders were an excellent portion, three was even too much! Of course you nibble on the fries at the same time, which are equally as delicious. The cakes were cooked beautifully, they had a nice crispy fry. As you bit into the slider, the inside was soft and full of tender cod. The funniest thing about the cod cakes was there was something the chef used, a spice, that we just couldn’t figure out! Our last prediction was thyme, but please if you go and get it, comment what you think it may be! 

  
Being that this was their fall menu, the dessert and drink menu had fall inspirations. Everything was pumpkin spice and fall flavors. With that being said, how could we even pass over the thought of Pumpkin Spice Gelato? Now, let’s be real, pumpkin doesn’t really have a taste. It’s the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and other fall spices that makes it ‘pumpkin’. Still, it all tastes of fall and it’s hard to resist those flavors. The gelato was very delicious, it was denser than ice cream however it certainly didn’t take me back to Italy… For those who don’t know gelato starts with the same base as ice cream, but has a higher milk proportion and less cream and eggs (or no eggs at all). Gelato is also churned at a slower rate so there is less air being incorporated into the gelato leaving it denser than ice cream. Again, it was delicious, but I think they used the word ‘gelato’ to make it sound fancy. The spices were not overpowering, there was a nice hint of them. It came with a delicious ginger snap that was soft and complimented the ice cream wonderfully.

  
Orleans Public House is definitely going to become a regular vacation restaurant, at least the fall menu convinced me! I am assuming, with having a fall menu, this means it’s a year round restaurant. You never know with the Cape though, it may close come October/November. When it’s the Cape Cod season it may be hopping, but we won’t know until next year! It’s off the beaten path, but Orleans Public House is worth the adventure…and the food! 

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Burgers

Rodeo Goat- Fort Worth, TX

The West 7th Area of Fort Worth has become a center of social masses, from the number of restaurants and bars to little shops to the gigantic Movie Tavern in the center. Everyone is there on a Saturday night, and why not? It’s the perfect area to get a group of friends and get a good bite to eat. However, just a few blocks down on Bledsoe and Currie is Rodeo Goat. 

Now you’re probably thinking this place probably serves organic goats milk and cheeses or something. Nope, almost the opposite. It’s a higher end burger place! It’s a great casual place to go to with friends, however beware! They don’t take reservations so be sure to get there an hour before you want to eat so you can get your name down. They are pretty good at getting people in and out, but it’s also worth the wait. They have outdoor seating too so if you can stand the Texas heat in the summer, go for it. 

Upon walking in you definitely get the cozy, bar feeling. There are stools and bar tops for seating so it’s pretty casual. Be aware that they are stools, so no backs, and ladies there really isn’t a place to put your purse other than your lap.

We ordered our food right away, since we had been waiting a while (which I highly suggest, just speeds the whole process a bit in this kind of place). The burgers are all pretty different, from each other and from your typical burger. You can also substitute a beef patty with chicken, turkey, quinoa, or veggie burger, they truly cater to all which is refreshing! 

I ordered the Cowboy Murrin, with bacon, jalapeños, tomato, fried onion, pickle chutney, cheddar, and homemade BBQ sauce. See what I mean by “not your typical burger”? All the burgers have at least five toppings on it. Now a crowd favorite is the Chaca Oaxaca, just a FYI if the Cowboy doesn’t appeal to you. 

The food came out in a pretty timely manner for being a Saturday night, and our server was awesome! He was super chill and got us covered and did it all timely.

The burger was pretty damn good. I would say the beef itself wasn’t amazing (compared to the burger at Wahlburgers; see previous post) but also not awful, and all the toppings and everything together worked in perfect harmony. The flavors were all there and they all worked together. The bun was really good surprisingly, it almost overshadowed the burger itself.  The pickles that were on the side were also amazing, you could taste how fresh they were, definitely made in house. 


Overall I was impressed with Rodeo Goat! I would definitely go back and try some of their other burgers or menu items (what are these Goat Balls?) and enjoy watching the game and being with friends. 

http://www.rodeogoat.com/ftworth/

 

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